Digital Marketing, what is it?
What is digital marketing in Kenya? This is a very commonplace question. That would be a good thing, only that most people that attempt to answer it miss the point or complicate it. Digital marketing simply refers to all the efforts a business puts into promoting its goods or services (collectively referred to as products) online.
When the rubber meets the road, digital marketing is simply: Marketing using digital platforms.Mwendwa Kilundo
Digital marketing for businesses…
As an MSM (Micro, Small & Medium-sized) Enterprise, there are numerous ways in which your business could benefit from digital marketing. Which is in part what we shall be looking at later on in the article. Whether you are a one-person business, operating from home, running a boutique or operating a small industry, digital marketing will give your business the edge it desperately needs.
The Right Principle…
…is a marketing principle. It means to make the right product offering, at the right time, in the right place and to the right person.
Today, your customers are online: hanging out on social media, staying updated on news sites and blogs, and searching online when they have a need. Being able to put your product (right product) in front of the right person (target audience) at the right time and at the right place is easier today than yesterdays.
The right principle combined with digital marketing- when properly employed and utilised- puts you in those same platforms. The platforms where your target audience spends most of their time. You want to be where the action is! When that happens, your best prospects can see you, learn more, and even ask questions to know more about you and your products.
If you’re new to digital marketing, it may feel overwhelming to think about mastering all the online marketing strategies and tactics used in digital marketing…
…and I get that…
…we shall stick to the basics to enable you to see how each platform fits into enhancing your digital marketing plan.
Let us now look at the pillars/components of digital marketing and what they mean to your business when you invest in your digital marketing efforts. Is that good or great?
5 Pillars of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing as a practice comprises of the following 5 major pillars:
- Social Media (Marketing and Management);
- Content Marketing;
- Email Marketing;
- Search Marketing (SEO & SEM) and;
Social Media (Marketing and Management) think WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn among others.
This is the use of social media platforms to advance the position of products or brands of the firm in the eyes of the consumer.
Different social media platforms are built for different purposes and thus attract different audiences. It is important as an MSME to understand the varied social media platforms in order to maximize efforts on the platform that works for your business.
For example, Facebook is perceived as an old people platform whereas Instagram is perceived as a platform for the young and trendy with a keen focus on lifestyle. Understanding this gives your business an edge to compete.
For an in-depth understanding of what social media marketing can do for your business check out our article on Social media for businesses.
Content marketing – think blog posts, e-books, website page content, captions on social media, sales letters, online newsletters among others.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.Content Marketing Institute
That definition sounds like a mouthful. Let us take a second to unpack what it means. Content basically means the information you share out. whether you share it with customers or prospects.
Strategic means that you take the time to prepare content in advance. That you know what you will post in a day, a week and a month at the bare minimum.
Content marketing isn’t just shooting a promo video and thinking you’ve nailed it. One video or blog post about “who we are and how we do what we do” won’t cut it!Mwendwa Kilundo
If we could simplify that definition, it would look like this…
…what information do you plan on sharing with your customers and prospects that they will find relevant and valuable? Additionally, how consistent will you be while doing that and lastly, how does that tie in with your business model?
For a comprehensive understanding of what content can do for your business, we compiled a comprehensive fast-to-read guide on content marketing for businesses.
The simplified buyer process
All prospects of a business go through three basic stages;
- Awareness – the prospect identifies they have a need and your business is one of the solution providers (if you have made them aware of your solution).
- Evaluation of options – prospects that go through step 1 successfully start looking for alternatives that solve their needs. That decision is going to be made relative to price, quality or service constraints.
- Conversion – prospects at this stage are ready to purchase. Will they chose to buy from you and if and when they do, will they become loyal?
At each of these levels you will need to furnish prospects with content that enables them to move along the stages of awareness to evaluation and into conversion.
Contrary to popular thought no one piece of content can take prospects from awareness to conversion.
This means that you will need to create content for each point that your prospect is at. Content created and produced should work together to promote the business at all levels. Great content should give the suspect or prospect information that helps them move closer to choosing you. Buying from you. And sticking with you.
Search marketing refers to all efforts involved in ensuring that your business is visible on search engines when a person keys in a search query. A Search query here means the problem they are searching for an answer to.
In short, if I went to Google, YouTube, Yahoo or Bing and searched for your business, what results would I see? Would your business website show up? Would your videos show up? Would your social media accounts show up?
Search marketing is an umbrella term meaning it contains both SEO (search engine optimisation) and SEM (search engine marketing). Both are really simple concepts, SEO is free while SEM is paid for.
These are some of the questions you should ask yourself, if not already. The number one search engine is Google. Now guess what comes in at number 2… YouTube! If you are going to run a successful business online, you will need to ensure that people can find you online through search.
The most important part of search marketing is knowing only about 8-10% of people will search for your business online. And that 10% is mostly people that have interacted with your business before…
…the rest of the people that you want to do business with will be searching for solutions to their problems. The question now is, does your business sell products or solve needs?
4. Email Marketing
Email Marketing refers to sending emails to potential customers/customers with the intention to convert them into actual buyers of a product. Email marketing is a pretty versatile tool for any and all businesses.
It can be used for branding, engagement, acquisition, retention, direct sales, reactivation, generating traffic, and getting referrals.
This makes it one of the most versatile tools any business can use to grow their business. The emails that a business sends can be in the form of newsletters, free courses, or coupons.
This may necessitate the use of softwares and platforms like Mailchimp, GetResponse, Aweber among others. This means that you will need to collect data from your customers and prospects… And doing so while respecting their right to the privacy of their data, to create a mailing list or a customer relationship management system.
Analytics refers to all the metrics that a business monitors to help it measure the success or failure of digital marketing efforts.
Analytics here could be as simple as analysis of data using softwares like Microsoft Excel or a bit more detailed like using Google Analytics or Facebook Analytics.
The essence is to understand the value of your marketing actions online. This unlike traditional marketing- accords businesses even MSMEs the opportunity to understand how prospects and customers interact with the digital assets of the company.
These metrics to measure might include your conversion rate, website visits, purchases done online vs offline sales, the number of inquiries you receive etc.
These metrics will help you make sound decisions for your business operations and identify opportunities you might have missed.
It is our opinion that every business should make an effort to promote itself online. And that decision should be carefully thought out and planned out to maximize the resources of the business. In our article on the Benefits of Digital marketing, we analyse 5 key benefits on how it is a great equalizer in segmenting markets, targeting that segment and positioning your business as the problem solver or opportunity that the target audience has been chasing albeit elusively.
Take the time to go over your resources as a business. Take note on whether you are well equipped to handle your online customers and prospects. And read a whole lot more. You own/run a business, it is your mandate to give it a thriving chance. MwanaBiashara is your partner to a profitable venture.